by Jane Yolen
When God seized her on the street,
so hard she fell down, biting her tongue,
angels sang above in chorus, like sirens:
"Holy, holy, holy," in three languages,
none of them her own.
It was a brain storm, an electrical conversion.
She told me this straight-faced,
haloed by the shadows of Adams House,
the light of heaven long extinguished in her.
Medicine holds the godhead now;
angels, like dreams, faded into stories.
She is relieved of the saint's awful burden.
If the visions of poets, like saints,
are but a convergence of electrons,
the snapping together of synapses,
then doctors are the severest critics,
dosing us out of our dreams.
Poems must begin with seizure:
on the street corner, in the shower stall,
in the singing of angels, "Holy, holy, holy,"
from the brightness of the empty page.
WRITING PROMPT: Magical Realist (exercise from Writing Alone and with Others, Pat Schneider)
Write without making "sense" in the usual way. This is a wonderful exercise for springing the imagination out of its usual tracks. Try writing a paragraph of nonsense, making the second half of each sentence not fit the first half in its meaning. When you have finished the paragraph begin writing in your usual way, but allow something impossible (maybe magical) to happen in the midst of realistic narration. Remember that John Gardner said the single most important quality of great fiction is an element of "strangeness."